It’s a gloomy dusk before we ring the new year and rain has fallen nonstop. I just recently came back from a final beach trip in La Union, my future retirement home. I had, as expected, the best time. It didn’t bother me that there were showers there too. Walking on the beach despite the drizzle, I told my friend that it looked sad to which she replied:

“It’s not sad. It’s poetic.”

I laughed my ass off at that remark. It was typical for us to think like this, to find the beauty in the somber and macabre. I’m at that certain age and generation that liked to romanticize and glamorize death, that had anxiety and depression, and just the general feeling of the crushing weight that is our existence. We would talk about the best ways to die or if Jesus had a brother while we were sober. We said ‘what the fuck are you doing’ to our friends lovingly. We laughed at the faces of the people who hated us because the joke’s on them, for we hate our own selves more than anybody else. We spend an overwhelming amount of money on alcohol or Grab. And we rely on memes to utter the words that we are not brave to say, such as our daddy issues and lack of self-worth. This was how we cope, and hopefully, recover from it.

Not sad, but poetic. That was what 2018 was for me. It was the best and the worst of times. My mind, body, and soul were in constant arguments, resulting to the most unexpected year I have ever had. I had unexpected getaways such as going to Baguio impulsively on a weekend. I had my first international trip this year in South Korea. I froze my imaginary balls off in there, wearing many layers instead of almost nothing like I do here in my tropical country. It was also the week where I walked the most I have possibly ever had my entire life, in heels, but had the best samgyupsal ever afterwards. I went to concerts, gigs, and events on a whim, without second thoughts. I met people, fought my social anxiety to merely say hi, to strangers and people I never thought I would have the courage to talk to.

I achieved unexpected heights that I didn’t think I could. Passing and topping the LET was one of the greatest achievements I have ever had back then yet I never really felt proud of it. The impostor syndrome I had was so high, resulting in me cringing when somebody ever mentioned that fact to people I just met. The solution I had, healthy or not, was to continue on learning and growing in my profession. Since then I have finished two courses given by the US Embassy and just passed my comprehensive exam for my Masters in Education. There was a slight setback on the latter, for I was supposed to graduate in the summer but my scholarship got delayed due to my busy work schedule. No one is in a hurry, myself most of all. I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. I still think I don’t deserve all of these things, and perhaps I never shall, so I can only keep on going until I find myself worthy of… well, I don’t know. Something. There is beauty in the pursuit after all.

This year was filled with unexpected discoveries in my personal life. I started dating again after a long hiatus, which is still a work in progress. I am, and might always will be, the densest person when it comes to relationships. Revelations were made, some I saw coming, some I did not, but one thing is for sure: I still don’t know what to do with it but to just let it be. Granted it is the passive, traditional way, we are living in the modern age after all. I. Just. Suck. At. Dating. And. Everyone. Just. Needs. To. Accept. That. It’s funny in a sarcastic way, how I know myself to be an overthinker whose instincts are often right on everything else and yet when it comes to men I am just completely thick. Whoever cursed me to be this kind of woman, please free me already. I’ll wait.

I went through unexpected breakthroughs. Albeit I lost my writing juju sometime this year, I intend- nay, I am determined- to jump back to it again. I have future projects, big ones, that I have brainstormed and plan to slowly but surely execute until its fruition. I’ve been thinking too much that I forget to just simply relax and take it one step at a time. No one is pressuring me to be someone great. I don’t expect people to remember my name when I die. So why rush?

Ultimately, I came to unexpected conclusions. They might sound like old news to you, but it has only taken 2018 for me to realize them.

One: you cannot expect or force yourself to have a happy life, but what can you be without the scars that you bear from your past? What will you be when you don’t let them haunt you?

Two: How you take care or be yourself does not necessarily have to be the same with others.

Three: You only have this life. Here and now. Say yes, say no, say one day. But don’t give up on it yet, not until death greets you and says it’s time. By then life wouldn’t be truly sad or poetic, just real.

Cheers to all the beers, tears, and fears I got through this 2018. May life be less ridiculous by the next.

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